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Coronavirus in the U.S.: 'This is going to be a really big disaster'

Infectious disease expert says U.S. is ‘totally unprepared’ to handle epidemic

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control on Tuesday announced the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the U.S. The respiratory infection has killed at least six people worldwide and sickened hundreds more in Asia. 

Northwestern University infectious disease expert Dr. Robert Murphy is traveling internationally but can respond to reporters’ e-mailed questions about the virus.  

Reporters interested in interviewing Dr. Murphy via e-mail should contact Kristin Samuelson at with their questions. 

Quote from Dr. Murphy:

“This is going to be a really big disaster. Basically, this is the next SARS and there is no treatment. It isn’t routinely diagnosed, it can be transmitted person to person and it can kill you. Treatment is just supportive. Approximately 1,000 people died from SARS, and it would not surprise me if the same happens here.

“The U.S. is totally unprepared for handling this epidemic. So far, the Centers for Disease Control has sent 100 people to three airports in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles to help with screening, but what about everywhere else?”